Response 12 – A Walk Through Viby

Dear Marie,

Thanks for the ‘psychogeographical’ Task 12. You asked me to chose an unfamiliar area and spend at least an hour wandering through it. My friend Erin Pickles was visiting us for a few days so I asked her to join me in the scripted meander. I decided to get off the train I take for my morning commute to Aarhus a stop early — at the station called Viby Jylland — and to walk from there in the rough direction of central Aarhus, which I imagined to be nearer then it actually was…

It was a cold day and we wandered and bickered good-naturedly about the way we were headed. We moved from the expensive seeming business area by the station through a couple of gentile suburban residential zones separated by a major road, and then, rounding a corner, we emerged into generic small-town-centre land. The very wide road that traversed it suggested that most people passed through without stopping, though there was a park and impressive library. Turning off the big road again after a while we ended up close to another affluent residential area and then what may have been a poorer neighbourhood — a housing estate rendered in pastels that seemed to offend Erin’s aesthetic sense. I didn’t know it, but we were quite close then to a part of the Aarhus outskirts I recognised from driving in to the city from Horsens.

Erin recorded the stroll with a GoPro camera. She pauses every so often with the camera to focus on a detail that intrigued her. I took about fifty photos with my iPhone, and then (when that died) my iPad, and then (when that died) Erin’s much fancier iPhoneX with its super-duper camera. I intended to follow your instructions to choose a particular category of object or feature, by focussing only on architectural details (not whole buildings) that appealed to me. But actually, I found I wasn’t very interested in most of the buildings we passed and so I just ended up snapping whatever caught my eye, or details that Erin suggested. (The lack of system irritates me about the resulting photos.) We stopped recording after the hour (we were in the middle of the housing estate at that point) and took a bus into Aarhus to warm up over coffee and pastries.

Here’s a screen recording of the route as I tried to reconstruct it later on Google Maps. (Skip this if you’re short of time or patience.)

 

But much more interesting is a map of the same route by Erin.

Drawing by Erin Pickles showing our walk through Viby

 

And here is Erin’s commentary on the map and the route.

 

Towards the bottom of the page is a film I made with the speeded-up footage (in four screens on either edge) and photos (in the middle linked by dissolves). I decided to keep the film to c.5 minutes, and edited the soundtrack down with no particular principle in mind — though I retained any mention of another city. It seemed interesting to me that we like to make these connections between locations. It took me a while to arrive at the multiscreen arrangement, and you can see an earlier design above (the gap at top-right was to have one or two further images that would have corresponded to the dialogue or that would have been extracted from Erin’s footage to focus on details she had dwelled on). The photos were all run through the standard photo app on my iPad using the ‘vivid cool’ setting and cropped square (apart from three or so that needed a landscape setting).

I exported a slideshow (incorrectly labelled ‘Task 11’) from the photo app on my MacBook with the fifty or so photos, which I then imported it into Premiere Pro, so the arrangement of photos is a random one.

 

I like two aspects of this response. The first is the fact that someone else has been involved: It has been nice to follow up your ‘people/writing’ task with another that foregrounds friendship, and which in this case has been co-created with another person. Secondly, I like that the same experience, the walk, has been represented in several different ways and mediums – in prose, in photography, in two different maps, on film. Which is best? To what extent are the ‘incidental’ aspects more striking than the record of the undertaking of the walk itself? In what directions does this work point that was itself about getting lost?

See here for next task.